Reading from the Gospel of John, 12:36b-43
36b After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. 37Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. 38This was to fulfill the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
“Lord, who has believed our message,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and understand with their heart and turn —
and I would heal them.”
41Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. 42Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.
This passage reminds me of Jesus’ words from the cross, from Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?”
Many believed Jesus privately. Some were among the authorities themselves who hid their true beliefs. They kept quiet, and yet all the while in their hearts yearned for the Lord of Israel to emerge the victor, to pronounce the establishment of the Kingdom of God, to usher in a new era of miracles and glory. But they were afraid.
In our own time, we anxiously await salvation — we wait for deliverance from this year of sickness and sadness, for healing in our society and culture. It is not too late to begin to seek redemption from what afflicts us. It is not too late to follow Jesus instead of hiding. What might it be like to co-create with God the truly just society he envisions, to not only long for his Kingdom but welcome it?
Jesus knew because of our sins, he must take the journey to Calvary. As difficult as it must have been, we can rightly imagine that he knew his Father accompanied him along the Via Dolorosa. The apostles’ doubt was certainly crushing, but a great mystery was about to be revealed in only three days. Maybe later, sheltered in the upper room, afraid and not knowing what would happen next, one disciple remembered these words from the end of Psalm 22, and gave thanks: “Posterity shall serve him; men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, that he has wrought it.”
(The Reverend) J. Kenneth Asel, D.Min. is a retired priest from the Diocese of Wyoming. Devvie and he have been married more than 28 years and reside in the Texas Hill Country.
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